Believe it or not, I did the phase 1 commissioning (testing to ensure design intent is met) of the second of the Maple reactors in Chalk River back in 2000. I later did the early commissioning of the related processing facility. It became obvious very early on that the processing facility would never function reliably. The design was shockingly bad, and the management even worse. As for the reactors themselves, part of the issue is the interpretation of an international standard on reactor core design regarding 'positive void coefficient'. Linda Keen decided on her own extremely limiting interpretation before she was fired from the CNSC. That, and the fact that AECL was literally forced into the construction of the new facility by their contract with MDS Nordion, for whom they supply the raw isotopes. The Mulroney Conservatives literally gave away AECL's Commercial Products division (a HUGELY profitable one, btw) to MDS Nordion many years ago, and forced them (AECL) into a long term contract for the supply of isotopes. A contract that was not in the slightest favorable to AECL. I have long felt that AECL does not really want to be in the isotope business. That is the indication many of us get from some of the decisions that have been made over the years.
The issue of 'executive bonuses' appeared in that project too. When milestones cannot be met, executives just break the remaining portions of the project into smaller milestones, so that they always get their bonus for meeting them. Eventually, infinitessimally small progress gets made, but is celebrated and spun by management like major progress is actually occurring.
wrt the current Chalk River issues, the calandria vessel of the NRU reactor was originally replaced after the first 15 years of operation. The current one has been in operation for 37 years now. Budgets were cut, and the currently trendy management accounting practice of each department billing each other for services took root. Instead of people working as a company, they start working as small tribes, with petty little low-level managers desperately trying to preserve their little sphere of influence. Money gets wasted, and projects that really need to go ahead fall by the wayside due to 'budget priorities'.
Part of the problem in business today is that every manager seems to feel that the Harvard Business Review is gospel. It's no more than a series of articles published by professors and graduate students who like to see their names in print (or HAVE to to keep their positions). Every once in a while, some daft theory of management takes root in the world and takes about 10 years in the US to become thoroughly discredited. Canada seems to lag behind by several years, both on the uptake and the realization that it should be thrown away.
Now you know at least that I come by my nick honestly